Three years later - mom and sister passed in 2020

My mom (69) and younger sister (39) both passed away in 2020. My mom had heart issues and my sister passed from brain cancer four months later. My dad is still very much here and in his early 70s and he’s a comfort.

I’m almost 50. Never got married or had kids. They WERE my family. My sister was 8 years younger than me, so it was a little like a mother-daughter, and she always told me I was her best friend. My mom and kind and gentle. All three of us were co-dependent and emotional and in each other’s business every day. My dad and I had to take care of my sister in hospice (her partner left her 7 years before when she was diagnosed and she never had kids, either). It was truly awful- she couldn’t talk anymore, but just laid there, staring right at me, crying and crying. I could not protect her.

Now, three years later, I’m like 40% of the person I once was. I’m just trying to fill in the cracks in between. I see my dad every other day and hang out with him, but it’s not the same. I get so angry when people say “well, at least it wasn’t your husband or kid.” I wouldn’t know, I never had a husband or a kid, but I did have a mother and a sister. I won’t either get one of those again. I devoted so much time and energy helping my mom (she had mobility issues for years) and my sister (she was bipolar). We knew what each other was thinking and finished each other’s sentences. The world just seems different, like I don’t belong.

Yes, I’m a person and a member of the human race, but it seems alien and all wrong, too. I told my dad I almost don’t know who I was anymore, and he joked a little about it. He’s loving a good guy who took care of my mom and sister, but isn’t the most emotional person in the world. I’m doing well in my career and pushing forward, but I feel like I’m 80.

Also, my sister’s illness and death really made me question my faith so much, I’m basically an agnostic now. That’s the only way any of this makes sense.


I am sorry for your loss of your mom and sister.

Had to reply. Your phrase, “Now, three years later, I’m like 40% of the person I once was” stands out.

I get it. Truly.

I’m three and three quarters later. I posted to this site and visited here quite a lot in the early days in 2020. After the initial shock and horror of immediate grief life’s gradually just sort of settled into … I’m not quite sure what it has settled into really. Not living, not in any real way that makes sense when I look back on the last three and three quarter years. Haven’t achieved anything much, and nothing much has changed at all. And today, having not visited for ages, when I looked around on here again for someone who was maybe feeling that same hollowed out feeling as me, and then finding what you said about being less than half what you once were, it chimed.

It’s hard deciding to reply, it feels almost like a sin to say that after such a large amount of time I wasn’t feeling “better” or doing more than simply coasting along. Why? Because to say so was almost like going counter to exactly the me of three and a three quarter years ago was hoping to hear from the community here… that yes I will cope, that it does and will get better, there is light at the end of the tunnel, that everything is going to be alright. That’s what I needed to hear then, and is exactly what people in the same situation in the immediate weeks and months after loss need to hear now : that there will be an end to the pain of it.

So, sorry if being honest has trampled on anyone’s expectations. Of course, we all know everyone is different. Some people do manage to haul themselves back to something like being really alive again. Some people put on a great performance of being really alive again too. For the most part that’s what I do, mostly because I don’t want to bore people or sound whiny. Who would? But it does feel good to be able to be honest, and so I thank you @Beth19 for opening the door to letting me do just that.